How To Create Simple Wood Frame in Photoshop CC 2014

How To Create Simple Wood Frame in Photoshop CC 2014

In this post we will create a simple wood frame which is pretty nice and easy to create. All we need is a couple of shapes and texture plus image of choice. With one Layer Style and a bit of painting with the Brush tool we will get our job done. The advantage of creating frames in this way is that you can easily change or modify frame shapes, to change light source for Layer Style, to paint additional shadings and to swap texture so you can have totally different and unique frame in a second. I will provide you with PSD file which contains paths necessary for our frame. In addition, you will find (in the download package) and action to create wood texture with a single click plus: Old Photo - custom Color Lookup adjustment so you can achieve a final result very quickly and very easily.

What you are going to learn in this tutorial

You are going to learn how to use paths which are not necessarily created in Photoshop, paths can be imported from Illustrator. You are going to learn how to use the advantage of layer groups to which is applied Layer Style. In this way you can keep shapes/components separate and make more easily changes at any time if necessary. In other words you do not have to create complex shapes, but rather to combine several simple shapes. Another thing you can learn in this tutorial is how to use the advantage of cloned Smart Object layers so you can swap texture for all components in the composition just by replacing texture on one Smart Object layer. We are going to use and clipping masks and you can learn and about that feature in Photoshop.

Download assets

I have prepared in advance assets which you can use. Explanation in this tutorial will start with how to use paths saved in wood frame (paths).psd file which you can download from here.

Templates, Actions, Patterns, Styles, Frames

Simple wood frame steps

We will start with paths from wood frame (paths).psd file. I will assume that you have downloaded assets and that you have open PSD file with paths.

Step 1 Create shapes from paths
In the first step you need to display Paths panel (Window > Paths in case you do not see it). Select top path (click on it) then go to: Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color. In the New Layer dialog type: top in the Name text field. From the Color: drop-down list choose Blue or any other color you want. We want to assign a color to our layers so it will be easier to locate them in the Layers panel as needed.
create top shape


The next dialog on your screen will offer to you Color Picker to choose color for the shape. Pick any color that you like, we will use shapes as containers to clip texture later, so color of the shape does not play an important role.

Repeat process with the remaining paths in the Paths panel. I will suggest you to name all layers properly and to pick different color for the frame image layer so you can easily distinguish what are frame components and which layer is predicted for image to be clipped.

Your file should look similar to what you see in the screenshot below.
default arrangement of layers after using paths


If you have created layers by following paths arrangement in the Paths panel then you should re-arrange the layers so top layer is on the top of layer's stack and the frame image layer is at the bottom. Zoom in at 100% to have a closer look and tweak alignment of shapes if needed.
layers arranged properly


Step 2 Additional components
We are missing something in our frame to be complete. There is top corner on the right side of the frame but we do not have bottom corner and we are missing the entire left side of the frame. It is easy to create additional components by duplicating existing ones.

Duplicate layer: top corner (that's how I have named shape created using corner path). Rename duplicated shape to: bottom corner and drag layer below the top corner layer.
create bottom corner layer


With the bottom corner layer selected, press Ctrl/Cmd + T to enter free transform mode. Hold down the Shift key and rotate shape for 180 degree.

Right click and choose: Flip Horizontal option from the context menu.
flip horizontal bottom corner shape


Now hold down the Shift key and drag shape to align bottom corner to the bottom side of the frame.
align bottom corner with the bottom of the frame


Finally, press Enter/Return to confirm and exit free transform mode.

We are going to group: top corner, bottom corner and right side shapes. Select all mentioned shapes, hold down Shift and Alt keys and click on the folder icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. In the dialog: New Group from Layers that will appear, type: right side in the Name text field. You can set the color to Blue because we have vector shapes in this group.
create group from right side frame shapes


Now we have right side complete and shapes grouped what makes easy to duplicate the group and create left side of the frame. The advantage of having shapes on separate layers is that you can easily change shapes for 'corners' at any time without any complexity. So, duplicate right side group by right-clicking on the group and choosing: Duplicate Group command from the context menu.

In the Duplicate Group dialog type: left side and confirm with OK.
type name for duplicated right side group


Now we need to drag left side group to the left side of our frame. Select the Move tool, ensure that in Options bar you do not have Auto select option checked and drag the group to the left side while holding the Shift key to constrain movement.
drag left side group


The next thing we will do is to enter free transform mode and to flip all shapes inside left side group. With the left side group selected, press Ctrl/Cmd + T to enter free transform mode, then right click and choose: Flip Horizontal. Press Enter/Return to confirm transformation and deed is done. You may need to tweak the position of the left side by using the arrow keys (with the Move tool and left side group selected).
flip horizontal left side group


We have base created. Still does not look like a wood frame, but it will, in a minute.

Step 3 Wood texture
For this step you can use any wood texture that you have. Alternatively, you can create wood texture using action provided in the downloaded pckage. More details you can read from here. In case you have created wood texture using action, what I did, select all from Select >  All menu (texture will be created in a separate tab). Go to Edit > Copy Merged to copy the texture to computer clipboard.
copy merged (wood texture)


Switch to tab with the frame, select left side layer group and paste copied texture by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + V (Edit > Paste). Rename layer to: wood texture.

Now click on the Layers' panel menu and choose: Create Clipping Mask.
create clipping mask for wood texture layer


The next thing you should do is to enter free transform mode for wood texture layer by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + T and to scale the texture to your likeness. Do not pay lots of attention on distortions, distort it until it looks as you like and you think that will work for this frame.

Now we will convert the wood texture layer to Smart Object Layer from: Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object. The order of steps above is important. We are going to create several cloned Smart Object layers. The advantage is that when updating one Smart Object layer it will automatically update content to all cloned Smart Object layers. If you distort and scale texture after converting a layer to a Smart Object, it means that distortion will be saved and if you replace content with another image then that texture will be distorted what may not be desired.

Lastly assign color to layer with texture so you can easily find and locate layer. I will assign a yellow color. Right click on the layer and choose: Yellow at the bottom of the context menu.

We need to clip wood texture layer and to our remaining components. Hold down the Alt key and drag wood texture layer toward bottom. When you see a line just above right side layer's group, release mouse button .
duplicate smart object layer with texture


Select the Move tool and drag layer to position it. Clip wood texture layer as we did in the previous step.
right side texture positioned and clipped


For the top and bottom components of the frame do the same: drag the wood texture layer while holding Alt key. You should rotate the texture layer to match horizontal directions of top and bottom parts of our frame. At this point you should have something that looks like wood frame, but we are still not there.

frame with all textures clipped

 Step 4 Layer Style
We need to add some styling or dimension to our frame. We are going to add Layer Style to our top and bottom vector objects to which are clipped textures and to our two groups: left and right side. Double click on the top layer to open Layer Style dialog and set following settings for Bevel and Emboss:

  • Style: Inner Bevel
  • Direction: Up
  • Size: 9px
  • For shading I will use 90 degree Angle and Altitude 30 degree.


Click OK to apply Layer Style and close dialog.
layer style dialog


 Right click on the top layer and choose: Copy Layer Style command.

Select: left side and right side layer groups, plus a bottom layer then right click and choose: Paste Layer Style.
paste layer style to other frame components


At this point you have something that really looks as simple wood frame. Let's do some more adjustments which are optional.

Step 5 Shading and highlights
This step is optional, but will make your frame looks better and more realistic. The whole point is to add some more shadows and highlights which you can paint on separate layers and clip them to the layers below. By using clipping masks you have option to lower opacity, erase or to add more shading/highlights. I will add shading to the sides and here and there in the actual frame which will make it looks more realistic.
adding shadows to the frame for ralism


Step 6 Image
Let's add image to our composition to see how it looks like as a whole. Select frame image layer then go to File > Place Linked or Place Embedded (more about Smart Object layers from here). If you care about file size (and probably you do) then use Place Linked. Clip placed image to: frame image layer.
clip placed image to frame image layer


I have provided and Color Lookup adjustment: old photo which we will use with placed image (optionally). In my case it does have a sense. Add Color Lookup adjustment layer above the layer with placed image, clip it to image then load old photo 2.CUBE from Properties panel.
load color lookup adjustment in photoshop


Step 7 Finishing touches
For the finishing touches you can do lots of things, everything depends on how you want to use frame, in which context and which composition. I have added some shadings and background to finish up this file as a final composition, you may want to move frame and image in some other, larger composition and that can be a totally different story. The good news is that you can easily change just any detail with easy because everything is on separate layers and every component is vector object. Light source for Layer Style can be easily changed to match light source in larger composition and shadings are on separate layers so you can quickly change everything. Corners are separate, simple shapes and it's easy to modify or replace them.
final composition


Step 8 Replace texture
Beside that you can change and modify frame very quickly and easily, there is an option to use any other wood texture which you may have captured on your own or downloaded from the internet. There are a couple of ways to replace texture and I will explain only one way. The first step is to open texture in Photoshop. You should find your texture on hard drive, right?  When using Replace Contents command there are limited options to search and find files in case you do not know the exact location or you want to experiment. That's where Bridge and Lightroom can help. Using Collections and other options like: Show Items from Subfolders you can quickly locate wood textures and open them in Photoshop.
wood textures collection in adobe bridge


Use Select > All command, then Edit > Copy to copy the texture to computer clipboard. Double click on any cloned Smart Object layer (wood texture) to open it in a separate tab and paste texture. Press Ctrl/Cmd + E and close tab, then confirm on Yes button. Every cloned Smart Object (4 in this case) will be updated instantly and you have new frame!
wood texture replaced

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